Nadrian C. Seeman gained his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in 1970. He did his post-doctoral training at Columbia University and MIT before going to work at the State University of New York at Albany, after which he joined the Department of Chemistry at New York University in 1988. He has been there ever since. In 2001, he was made the Margaret & Herman Sokol Professor of Chemistry at NYU.
Seeman had his "eureka" moment while drinking a beer in a pub at the State University of New York in Albany, where he was working as an x-ray crystallographer. An image of flying fish called Depth by the artist M. C. Escher popped into his head, triggering a mental comparison to DNA molecules with six branches. This inspired his efforts to devise ever more complex self-assembling structures from synthetic DNA strands. The research field he invented, structural DNA nanotechnology, is now the subject of research by hundreds of scientists in over 50 laboratories around the world.
Seeman has published over 240 research papers and has been awarded the Sidhu Award, the Popular Science Magazine Science and Technology Award, the Feynman Prize in Nanotachnology, the Tulip Award in DNA-based Computation, the Nano50 Innovator Award, the Biotechnology Award, and the Nichols Medal. He was the founding president of the International Society for Nanoscience, Computation and Engineering.
He strongly believes in the potential of his research to lay the foundations for the quantum computing components of the future. Seeman was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1998 and as a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2005.